Is five better than four? Ricoh CX5 review

It was about eight months ago when I reviewed the CX5’s predecessor, the CX4 – and as I pulled the latest release out of the box, I did a double-take as I thought I’d seen this camera already.


Body wise, there is little to distinguish the two of them. The CX5 is a bit dearer than the CX4 (at a smidge under £300), but boasts the same solid, all-metal body of the earlier model. This makes you feel like you’ve really got a substantial piece of kit in your hands, rather than a flimsy ‘toy’.

Beautiful detail on macro mode

Inside that rather small body lurks a pretty big lens – it can run from 28mm (wide-angle to you and me) up to an impressive 300mm. I have a Sigma lens for my DSLR that can do the same thing, and believe me, that won’t fit in my jacket pocket! (In fact it’s got me stopped at the X-ray machine at the airport on at least two occasions – I’ve still not worked out what it looks like when it goes through the scanner!). But to use that top range of zoom you will need a tripod or you’ll suffer with some major shake!

The big selling point of the CX5, though is its speed – it can shoot 15 full-res frames in 2.8 seconds – now that’s fast, although I started tapping my foot as I waited for the camera to store them – but hey, I’m impatient! And this is a £300 camera, not a far more pricey DSLR.

The CX5 has the same 10 megapixel back-illuminated sensor – and you’ll get noise-free shots from ISO 100-200, while those from 400-800 are fine. Higher than that and you might be disappointed with the results.

The CX5 also has the same High definition 720p video mode, which means the AVI format results in large file sizes, there’s no stereo sound and you can’t zoom or focus once you’re recording.

That long zoom can lead to some serious camera shake!

Despite the fact that it can cover such a huge range, allowing you to shoot everything from macro shots to landscapes and wildlife, there is not much in the way of manual control for the more experienced photographer, so don’t expect this to necessarily be a good catch-all to replace a DSLR is you want a more portable option for a day out.

However, for keen photographers who like to just set a choice of mode, and point and shoot, you’ll be assured of pretty decent results.